Are you stuck in a cycle of trying to diet but not seeing lasting results? Maybe you’ve plateaued and can’t seem to shed the remaining pounds? The phrase “eat less, move more” is often used to describe the weight loss journey. If only it were that simple. It’s more complicated than that because our bodies are smart machines! Here are the top reasons you might be having trouble losing weight.
- You eat too much. If you are tracking your calories and have a daily calorie goal, it’s important to adhere to that goal every single day. If your goal is 2,000 calories and 4 out of 7 days you actually eat 2,100, 2,050, 2,200, and 2,800, you actually are eating 1,150 calories over what you were supposed to for the week. That’s roughly a half a pound of extra calories! This also happens if you dial it in all week and then lose it on the weekend. Going out to eat, drinking, eating that extra slice of pizza. It can easily kill all your progress from the weekdays. Stay consistent. Aim to be within 50 to 100 calories of your goal plus or minus and you’ll see much better progress. Now, it could be that your goal needs to be adjusted, as well. But, the only way to tell is to keep as close to your targets as you can.
- You don’t eat enough. If you aren’t losing weight and your answer is to just keep cutting calories you could be causing your metabolism to slow too much. We all have a certain amount of calories we need to consume each day just to simply exist. If we only eat at that level or even less, we stress our bodies into thinking they need to hold on to whatever they can to survive. Fat is more useful than muscle when it comes to survival so our bodies will retain fat and shed muscle, the exact opposite of what you want! This is why someone can be significantly overweight, despite eating hardly anything at all. Our metabolisms are complex! Try to make sure you are at least eating at your maintenance plus a little more to account for your activity level.
- You need to change your workout. Resistance training is the best way to build muscle and speed your metabolism. You want more muscle than fat on your body to look and feel your best. But, you can’t just rely on the same old workout routine day in and day out. You need to phase it. The best exercises are the ones you never do. The best routines are the types you never try. Find a quality personal trainer to help you with your programming or seek out talented online influencers and coaches and purchase their programs. They are designed for long term success.
- You need a break. If you are working out too hard or have been in a calorie deficit for too long, try taking a break. It just might be what your body needs to reset. Do a deload week, or rest and just walk or do mobility work for a week. Eat more for a week and let your body refuel. You might be doing too much with your workouts, too. If you work out more than five days at a pretty good intensity, try dropping back to three full body days instead or lower the cardio. You’d be surprised at how positively your body will respond!
- You’re not healthy. If you aren’t sleeping enough or you have digestive or hormonal issues, you will have a hard time losing weight. You need to make sure you’re getting rest and addressing any health issues. You can be eating all the right foods but if your gut isn’t healthy the nutrients might not be adequately absorbed. And if you don’t get at least 7 to 9 hours of good sleep, your body can’t recover and will be in a constant state of stress, which results in holding onto fat and shedding that good muscle. Sleep is so important!
- You do too much cardio. Cardio does burn calories but there comes a point when your body starts to shed muscle to make it easier to do the cardio activity. We adapt. This is not good. You need more muscle than fat on your body to keep you metabolism running smoothly. The more muscle you have, the more you can eat, too. And, who doesn’t want to be able to eat more! I eat 2,200 calories a day and I weigh only 95 pounds! I struggle to put on weight! That’s how much lean mass I have and how fast my metabolism has gotten. To preserve and build muscle, you need to do resistance training. Cardio is important, too, but in moderation to ensure your body doesn’t go into stress mode.
A good rule of thumb for women is not to go lower than 1,200 calories; men should not go below 1,500. If you are below these thresholds, you need to adjust to get to a healthier place. It’s possible! Having a good trainer and nutrition coach can help you speed up a slow metabolism and get you on your way to a healthy weight.